Genuine Humility

Psalm 131:1-3

With a mere three verses, Psalm 131 is one of the shortest chapters in the Bible. If it is ever true, however, that good things come in small packages, this psalm is proof of that. Charles Haddon Spurgeon—the prince of preachers—said of this song of David:

Comparing all the Psalms to gems, we should liken this to a pearl: how beautifully it will adorn the neck of patience. It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn. It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ. Lowliness and humility are here seen in connection with a sanctified heart, a will subdued to the mind of God, and a hope looking to the Lord alone.1C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Volume 6: Psalms 120-150 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 136.

He aptly describes this little psalm. It would be missed by the hurried reader and considered of almost insignificant value to one impressed with size and choice of terms, but it nevertheless contains a timely message. David composes lyrics that address a hazardous and dangerous habit in this song: impatient arrogance. He is saying that he is not proud or haughty or interested in being seen, heard, or noticed. In fact, he is announcing his plan to move out of the limelight and away from that place of public attention.

Genuine humility isn’t something we can announce very easily. To claim this virtue is, as a rule, to forfeit it. Humility is the fairest and rarest flower that blooms. Put it on display and instantly it wilts and loses its fragrance! Humility is one character trait that should be a “closet utterance,” as W. Graham Scroggie puts it,2Graham Scroggie, The Psalms, rev. ed. (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1967), 273. not something we announce from the housetop. Humility is not something to be announced. It simply belongs in one’s life, in the private journal of one’s walk with God, not in a book that looks like a testimony but comes across more like a “bragimony.”

David, however, isn’t bragging in Psalm 131; he writes this song as a part of his own devotional life. It is a conversation with the Lord that we are invited to overhear, a brief poem in which he states his convictions concerning his removal from the public eye.

We know nothing of what prompted the writing of this song. The occasion leading to the writing of many of the ancient biblical songs remains a mystery. We can enter into the occasion in our imagination, however. Often we feel humbled and crushed after we have sinned and/or made a series of mistakes—after we have “blown it.” At those times we are genuinely interested in finding the nearest cave and crawling in. At other times, when we get a glimpse of our own pride and become sick of our deceptive attempts to cover it up, we fall before God and ask to be removed and made obscure. And then there are those occasions of heart-searching experiences: Times of sickness. Days of deep hurt. Painful waiting. Disappointing events. Loss of a loved one. Removal of a friend. Loneliness. Pressure. At those crossroads, the traffic of people seems overbearing, the flashing of lights seems so vain, and the noisy crowd, so repulsive. During such times one longs for obscurity and silent, humble communion with the Creator. Any of these occasions could have prodded the sweet singer of Israel to write this song of humility.

Humility is the fairest and rarest flower that blooms. Put it on display and instantly it wilts and loses its fragrance.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.

1 C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Volume 6: Psalms 120-150 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 136.
2 Graham Scroggie, The Psalms, rev. ed. (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1967), 273.
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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.